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Old 02-06-2011, 12:53 AM   #1
de5m0mike
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Default How to make the most out of APA Kit

I have a Brewers Best kit for an American Pale Ale. This will probably be my 5th or 6th time brewing. I've done kits in the past and a couple extract recipes from my LHBS. Anyway, I want to know if anyone has any suggestions on how to make this the best beer possible. I assume that because this is a kit there may be some shortcuts taken in the effort to make it quick and easy to brew. I'm not worried about that, I want to make it good.

So here are a couple places I thought we could start:

1. Directions say to steep grains in 2.5 gallons at 150 - 165 for approximately 20 minutes. Should I steep longer? With more or less water? (I have the ability to boil as much as 6 gallons.)

2. The kit assumes a 60 min. boil. Would it be beneficial to do a 90 minute boil?

3. What about hops? This kit came with 2 oz. Cascade for bittering (suggested 60 min) and 1.5 oz Willamette for aroma (suggested 5 min.) Should I split any of these up over the boil?

4. I love hoppy beer and I have an extra 1 oz. of centennial left over from another beer that I was thinking I could add. I was thinking of using it to dry hop but since they are pellets maybe they would be better in the boil. What do you think? When should I add them.

5. I lost the yeast pack that came with the kit. Don't ask me how. I have no idea. Anyone know what kind of yeast should have come in this kit. Is there a better yeast that what I would have gotten with the kit that I should buy. I usually use Safale but am open to something else.

6. And last but not least. What about water? I usually just buy spring water but was thinking of getting RO water from the fill your own jug thing at the store and possibly adding some calcium or something. I was going to talk to my LHBS about this but I thought I'd ask here as well.

Sorry, I know that is a lot of questions to ask, but you guys are awesome and I want to make awesome beer.


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Old 02-06-2011, 01:01 AM   #2
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1 those instructions are written assuming you will do a 2.5 gallon boil and then top off in the fermenter to get 5 gallons. when i was brewing those kits i always did full boil but thats just me.
2. with an extract brew i dont see the benefit for a 90 minute boil as you will end up with less beer which will carmelize the extract more giving you a possibility for a less fermentable wort.
3. if you adjust the water volume you will get better ibu utilization which will make the beer more bitter and possible not balanced.
4. i love using centenial for dry hopping. you could always sub 1 oz of the cascade in the boil for the same amount ibu and use the cascade for dryhopping.

5. brewers best kits typically come with nottingham, us04 or us05 based on the style, but 99% of the time its nottingham. I use notty a bit more than I use safeale just for the fact that notty can ferment down to 59 degrees creating a very lagerlike ale. But thats just me
6. as for water my tap water tastes fine, im still not worried about water chemistry yet. Someday but not now.

Hope this helps.


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Old 02-06-2011, 01:08 AM   #3
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1.) I usually steep with my full amount of water I plan to boil. Some say this changes the PH and can lead to tannins, etc, but I haven't had a problem yet. I feel like I get more goods out of the grains since it can be diluted out into 5.5 gallons instead of 2.5.

2.) 60 minutes gets your max bitterness out of the hops, I'd stick to that.

3.)I wouldn't, but I'll leave it for someone who has more experience.

4.)I love hoppy beer, too, but I will leave this again for someone with more experience mixing hop types.

5.) I've used an american ale II (wyeast) that came with my irish red kit, and reused it for an amber I'm brewing. I haven't tried either yet (my one-week irish red bottle will be sampled tomorrow), but any ale yeast should suffice.

6.) I'd use tap water (no additives) if it's decent...you're boiling off any of the bad stuff anyway.
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Old 02-06-2011, 01:15 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by msehler View Post
1.) 6.) I'd use tap water (no additives) if it's decent...you're boiling off any of the bad stuff anyway.
I wish I could use my tap water but I have a well and from what I understand it has very high level of iron. We have a water softener but I'm told that is no good for brewing. I don't mind buying spring water if that is my best option but the bulk RO water at the grocery store would save me about $5 per batch if I could start using that instead.
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Old 02-06-2011, 01:23 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wcarter1227 View Post
5. brewers best kits typically come with nottingham, us04 or us05 based on the style, but 99% of the time its nottingham. I use notty a bit more than I use safeale just for the fact that notty can ferment down to 59 degrees creating a very lagerlike ale. But thats just me.
I've also been doing some research on culturing yeast from a commercial beer. I live in michigan, only about 15 min from Founders (worlds best brewery) where I'm sure I could get a great sample to culture from. Any thoughts on this? I plan to brew next friday so I think that would give me enough time to grow a healthy batch.
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Old 02-06-2011, 02:47 AM   #6
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Definitely use the fill your own jug thing from the grocery store...well water is gross. My grandfather has well water on his farm and he distills ALL the drinking water.

I have no idea how you would go about culturing yeast from a commercial brew as most beer is pasteurized, which kills the yeast. But if you think you can do it, Founders does make some great brew. I'm a big fan of their red rye.
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Old 02-06-2011, 09:12 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by de5m0mike View Post
I've also been doing some research on culturing yeast from a commercial beer. I live in michigan, only about 15 min from Founders (worlds best brewery) where I'm sure I could get a great sample to culture from. Any thoughts on this? I plan to brew next friday so I think that would give me enough time to grow a healthy batch.
Founders makes some wonderful beer. You can culture yeast from any bottle of beer that bottle conditions and does not pasterize and filter their beer.

Ive cultured up pacman, bells, and some funky yeasts this way. Use the search function and you will find a lot of folks on here do this.

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Old 02-07-2011, 05:19 AM   #8
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I may have to look into this. I noticed while drinking some Boulevard (Kansas City) pale ale during the super bowl that it's bottle conditioned.
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Old 02-07-2011, 06:49 AM   #9
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Add like 3lbs of malt extract to it, then get throw an oz of some other hops in at 30 minutes, then upgrade to some liquid yeast and make a starter the day before.
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Old 02-07-2011, 04:21 PM   #10
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I would take the lost yeast as a sign of good fortune. Get some liquid yeast (WLP001?) and work up a starter.


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